wild kittens

Wild Kittens: Over the past several years, the wild mother cat who has taken up residence in our barn in rural Wisconsin has given me many opportunities to figure out how to tame wild kittens.

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How to Tame Wild Kittens

Over the past several years, the wild mother cat who has taken up residence in our barn in rural Wisconsin has given me many opportunities to figure out how to tame wild kittens. The mother cat always hides her kittens very well, and then, when they are big enough to leave the nest and are big enough to eat kitty food, she brings them out and expects me to feed them.

When the wild mother cat brings her kittens out of the nest, it is the first time in their lives they have seen a human being, and they tend to be hissing, spitting bits of fluff that really look as though they mean business. And since they already have teeth and claws, I would rather not push the issue. I also would rather not let them remain wild, living in my barn, having kittens of their own. Six kittens, within a year or two, could turn into 56.As of early 2005, the wild mother cat has had more than 20 kittens in our barn, and I have managed to tame them and to find homes for most of them (unfortunately, several were lost when the wild momma kitty took them out to teach them how to hunt).

Here are some tips for taming wild kittens:

Buy some canned kitty food -- In my experience, kittens are always hungry and are always interested in canned kitty food. I have noticed it doesn't matter what brand, just so long as it has fish in it. The smell of fish seems irresistible to kittens.

Let the kittens smell the canned kitty food -- Open the can and then try to get as close to them as possible so they can smell the food. Once they get a whiff of it, and this is especially true of younger kittens that are anywhere from four weeks old to a few months old, they will be so interested in the canned kitty food they will forget (somewhat) that you are right next to them.

Use a fork (or spoon) to scoop out some of the food and let the kittens eat off the end of the fork (spoon) -- This is an important step. Do NOT put a forkful of food down and then back off. From the very first, hold the fork toward the kitten and let the kitten eat off the end of the fork. Stick to your guns and do not give up. If the kitten wants canned kitty food, the kitten MUST eat it off the end of the fork or the spoon. This is the first step in getting the kitten used to being close to you and in growing accustomed to your hand coming closer. This will be useful later on when you are trying to pet the kittens. After the kitten has eaten food off the end of the fork/spoon, THEN you can put a little food down for the kitten to eat on its own.

Repeat step 3 every time you offer the kittens some canned food -- At first, the kittens are going to be cautious about your hand coming toward them. The fork with the food will help to overcome that resistance. After you have done this a couple of times, the kittens will look forward to eating off the fork and will start to lose their fear of you and your hand.

Stay right there while the kittens are eating -- After you have put out some canned food for the kittens, stay there and don't move off. Let them eat with you next to them. This will help teach them to associate human beings with "good things."

Carefully start to pet the kittens -- After feeding them a couple of times without trying to pet them, which will begin to teach them that they can trust you, put food out and let the kittens start to eat. Then slowly reach down and pet them a little bit. Continue to sit there while they finish eating.

Carefully start to pick up the kittens -- After you can successfully put out food and remain there while the kittens eat and can pet them a little bit, try picking up a kitten. If you can, grasp the kitten by the scruff of the neck. This is how mother cats carry their kittens, and when you do this, the kitten will go limp. Hold the kitten against your shoulder and talk softly to it, but don't say "Hi kitten" or anything starting with an "h" sound. To a kitten, this sounds like a cat hissing, and the kitten will become frightened. Hold the kitten for a minute or so and then, grasping it by the scruff of the neck, set it down. After you have done this several times, the kitten will realize that no harms come to it from being picked up and handled.

Depending upon the age of the kittens and basic personality traits, the whole process, from starting with canned kitty food on the fork to being able to pet them and pick them up, could be accomplished in a few days or it might take a few weeks. Eventually, the kittens will know that people mean good things, and when they see you coming, they will come running to meet you. It has been my experience that cats quickly recognize when a situation is to their advantage, and once the kittens know you are a source of good things to eat and that you mean them no harm, they will want to be friends.

About the author: Visit ruralroute2.com If you would like to read an article about feeding and caring for orphaned kittens, go to the "articles" section of my website or if you would like to read more stories about cats and kittens from my book, "Give Me a Home Where the Dairy Cows Roam" (free shipping (!) on copies ordered from the author




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Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to

It’s a given that a cat ages more rapidly than what humans do. Some veterinarians will tell you that a one-year old cat is equivalent to a 16-year old child, although I think this is extreme. The different schools of thoughts propounded by vets and feline experts will tell you that the ratio is anywhere from 4 to 7:1 when it comes to comparing the aging process of a feline to that of a human. Despite the difficulty in predicting an exact age, most vets and experts consider a feline to be “geriatric” once it is 10 years old.

Cats are now living longer than ever before with the average age of a house cat that has been well cared for being around 15 years of age. Additionally, cats that have been neutered or spayed tend to live longer than those that have not been. The speculation here is that cats that have not been “fixed” tend to roam around a lot more and are there prone to even fatal injuries. It also holds true that they succumb to diseases and health maladies because of exposure to the outside environment.

Felines are amazing pieces of machinery, so to speak, in that they have the capability of repairing themselves. For instance, despite the fact that they have two kidneys, they only need a part of one of them in order to stay healthy. Eventually, the aging process in cats takes its toll on them, just like it does with us, and therefore they experience those bodily changes that are characteristically associated with getting older.

The bottom line here is that the key elements of exercise, health care, and proper nutrition, combined with the special care they need once they have entered their “golden years,” will affect your cat’s life expectancy positively. The following list, though quite lengthy, are the more common conditions and problems that older cats may eventually face and that you as an owner will have to deal with when they arise:

* Anemia
* Arthritis and stiff joints
* Blood pressure problems
* Bone brittleness and weakness
* Breathing issues resulting from less flexibility of the lung muscles
* Cancer
* Decreased brain cell count
* Decreased control of body temperature
* Decreased functions of the kidneys and liver
* Decreased intestinal and stomach functions which oftentimes lead to impaired digestive processes
* Decreased production of saliva and difficulties in swallowing
* Decreased sensitivity to all the senses excluding touch
* Dehydration resulting from a decreased sensitivity to thirst
* Greater occurrence of infection due to increased susceptibility
* Increased bone brittleness
* Mouth ulcers
* Muscle dysfunction and weakness
* Periodontal conditions and tooth loss
* Shallower sleeping patterns which leads to irritability and temperament issues
* Skin abnormalities such as abnormally brittle or misshaped claws, alopecia, and dullness of the coat

From the time they are kittens, cats need to be provided with four critical elements in order to enter their golden years in the best possible shape – an appropriate amount of regular exercise, good health care, proper nutrition, and a stimulating lifestyle.
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Do cats know and express love?

Most of us are incurable romantics. We think that feelings and expressions of love exist only within our species. But what about cats and other animals? Does anything akin to love exist in their world? The answer may surprise you, as it turns the love mirror back on us, revealing mysteries about our own struggles with l'amour.

Love Redefined
Until recently, poets, musicians and other creative individuals mostly defined love for us, coming up with traditions like Cupid and his arrow or St. Valentine's Day celebrations. But a slew of recent scientific studies put the focus on love's source of origin -- the brain.

Love turns out to be a valuable brain-initiated mechanism for species survival. It permits alliances between individuals, such as males and females, or parents and children, in order to facilitate breeding and infant care. Neuroscientists, such as Andreas Bartels of University College London, have determined that the brain-produced hormones oxytocin and vasopressin are real-life Love Potion No. 9s, leading to bonds between certain individuals.

Lions and Romantic Love
The feeling of "falling in love" is very specific, brain-imaging studies show. In humans, this can last for up to a few years, leading some people to constantly fall in and out of love or become addicted to that intense sense of attraction to another.

Domestic housecats have no need for extended male-female love in regards to reproduction. Lust, which appears in a different part of the brain, draws Toms and females together, but they then go their separate ways fairly quickly after mating, with mothers handling all parental duties. Lions are the one exception among cats, according to Jonathan Balcombe, author of the best-selling book "Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good" (MacMillan 2006). "Male lions will care for their cubs," he explains.

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How To Find a Lost Cat

Cats can occasionally wander off, and this can be a very scary time for pet owners. Most cats are found quickly, but it can take some effort for this to happen. If you are trying to find a lost cat, here are the steps you should take:

1. Confirm that the cat is actually lost. Cats are known for being excellent at hiding, and may simply be taking a nap somewhere. Search your home thoroughly, and your yard if your cat is allowed outdoors. Confirming that you cannot find the cat is the first step of the search. Listen carefully for your cat’s meows; it is possible that your cat has wandered into somewhere where they have gotten stuck.

2. Try to entice the cat back home. Even if your indoor-only cat has escaped the home, they are often able to be lured back with food. Set a bowl of food outside and see if the cat comes wandering back. Tuna fish or soft cat food often works best for this, because their smell is easier to detect for a cat than that of dry cat food. However, watch out for other animals who may also be attracted by the scent.

3. Look around the neighborhood. Check all of the streets of your neighborhood. If your neighbors are outside, ask them if they have seen your cats. They may have seen your cat wandering around the neighborhood before you realized that he was lost. Call your cat’s name while searching the neighborhood, and your cat may come running. Make any other noise that your pet is familiar with, like the sound of a treat box being shaken or his favorite squeaky toy.

4. Put up signs. Place signs up around your neighborhood on mailboxes and posts. Your poster should say “LOST CAT” and include the cat’s color and a description as well as your contact info. Include a photo of your cat, if you have one. A color photo is best. These should be distributed up to a one mile radius from where your pet went missing.
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Should You Feed Stray Cats?

The answer, of course, is yes, you should feed strays. Since cats became domesticated they are no longer wild animals that can fend for themselves outside. They don't survive very well outdoors on their own without human intervention.

The best that stray cats can usually do is to eat from garbage cans. Every now and then they may find a mouse to eat, but in general most stray cats are starving.

A lot of people are reluctant to feed strays for several different reasons. One of these is the idea that strays will breed out of control if you feed them. The truth is that strays can breed out of control whether or not they are fed. Not feeding stray cats will NOT reduce the stray population. Even very hungry cats can still breed and then they will produce starving and unhappy little kittens.

Also, remember that it isn't the cat's fault that he or she is a stray. Often strays are cats that have been abandoned by their owners for some reason. Other times, the strays are born outdoors to other stray cats. In any case, it isn't the cat's fault that they have no home. Also, cats are intelligent animals with feelings and individual personalities and it is cruel to let them go hungry.

A lot of people don't want to feed strays because they worry that if they feed a stray cat then it will hang around looking for more food.

So what! Cat food is fairly inexpensive and it cost very little to feed a cat, however, it will make a huge difference in the life of the cat you are feeding.

Putting out dry food is best, otherwise you may get all of the neighborhood cats looking for a handout - owned or not. If you put out only dry food you will usually only get really hungry cats. However, if you put out dry cat food you will often attract the other local wildlife, such as possums and skunks, which you don't want.

To prevent this you can put out dry food during the day and pick it up at night, however, shy or feral cats will usually only come to eat at night. Canned cat food doesn't typically draw other wildlife like the dry food does and so unless you have a lot of your neighbors' cats that are coming to eat at your house then you should probably put out a few plates or bowls (depending on how many cats you are feeding) of canned food at night. You should also provide a bowl of fresh water every day and each evening.
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Should Your Cat Go To the Dentist?

Should your cat visit the dentist? Many experts say so. Many cat dentists advertise online, offering services such as cleaning, polishing, check-ups, X-rays and tiny cat braces. How many times has your cat greeted you when you get home from work; you pick her up and she meows in your face. Her breath reeks and her teeth are crooked. You say to her "You need to go to the dentist, cat."

Sedation dentistry has become popular in the cat dentist industry. The cute little kitty gets a whiff of gas to calm her while the cat dental technician cleans and examines her mouth. Be sure to ask your veterinarian about sedation options when you make your kitty's appointment.

If you have more than one cat, ask about multiple cat discounts. Many cat dentists offer reduced rates if you bring all of them into the office at the same time. Bundle them all into your cat carrier, make the short drive to the office, and get it over with in one trip. The hassle level increases by a factor of 2.61, but the satisfaction factor outweighs. Should Your Cat Go to The Dentist for Braces?

Some cat dentists are trained in the application of cat braces. Commonly called cat orthodontists, they can provide diagnostic services to help you decide what specific needs your cats have. At an additional expense you may elect to install invisible braces instead of the metallic silver-colored units that tend to be uncomfortable. Some cats find themselves shunned from polite cat society once they get traditional braces. If you only have two cats in your house, being shunned can be a devastating experience for the newly braced kitty. Something about a mouth full of metal becomes extremely annoying to nearby cats; ask your cat dentist about tips for gradually introducing Little Snowball back into the cat herd after she gets her braces. Benefits of Visiting the Cat Dentist for Braces

Your cat should go to the dentist for braces if she plans to participate in cat shows or cat cotillions. Her first formal cat gathering will be a tremendous culture shock if she's not properly pampered and prepared. Straight clean teeth are a basic requirement for competing in the cutthroat social climbing environment of kitties. Obviously your showy cat needs a healthy lean diet to promote shiny fur and a healthy physique. It's all good until she opens her mouth to meow to the judge; if her teeth aren't straight, she can't possibly get a cat medal or cat trophy.

None of us want our kitties hiding under the sofa all day. Some breeds are genuinely shy, but certainly some individuals become self-conscious of their unsightly teeth and bad breath. We can't feed them (hopefully sugar-free) mints all day; something more permanent has to be done. Preparing for a Trip to the Cat Dentist
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How to Clean Cat Urine

When cat urine seeps through carpet, into padding and down to the floor beneath, it can give your home an unpleasant aroma (to say the very least!). In almost all cases, cat urine is the worst perpetrator of pet stains and pet odors. If you own a cat, it's important for you to know how to clean cat urine stains.

The color of cat urine and its staining potential will often depend on dietary habits, age and sex of the cat, whether the cat is on medication, and the health of the cat. Urine can saturate absorbent materials such as carpet and padding, upholstery and mattresses well beyond the surface area that can effectively be cleaned. It is extremely difficult to remove all of the urine from inside of these materials. Even after a thorough cleaning, stains and odors often remain.

Tips on how to clean cat urine from the carpet:

Removing cat urine from your carpet can be one of the most difficult cleaning tasks, since it produce an especially persistent, unpleasant odor and amber-colored stains, so here are a few things you can do to eliminate them, when the "accident" is happens.

First, blot up as much of the urine as possible with a soft, clean white cloth or absorbent paper towel. Press down firmly (do not rub) for 30 seconds. The more fresh urine you can remove before it dries, the simpler it will be to remove the odor. Remove the towel and repeat the process until the area is fully dried. Rinse the "accident zone" thoroughly with clean, cool water. After rinsing, remove as much of the water as possible by blotting it up. Next, you have some options on how to clean cat urine from the carpet:
1. Baking soda works well to eliminate surface (but not deeply penetrated) odors. Dampen the area with clean water and then sprinkle baking soda over it. Rub the baking soda into the soiled area and let dry. Brush or vacuum to remove the dry material.
2. Another option in the how to clean cat urine list is white vinegar. Mix together 1 quart warm water and 1/2 cup white vinegar, and dribble the mixture onto stain. Place dry towels over the stained area and put something heavy over the towels to increase the pressure. After some hours remove the towels and raise the nap of the carpet with a soft-bristled hairbrush. Note: Test the vinegar solution on a piece of fabric that is hidden from view - under the cushion or on the backside of the furniture.
3. To clean old or heavy stains in carpeting, consider renting an extractor or wet-vac from a local hardware store. The extracting/wet-vac machines works like a vacuum cleaner and do the best job of forcing clean water through your carpet and then forcing the dirty water back out again. When you use these machines, you should follow the instructions carefully. Note: Don't use any chemicals with these machines - they work much more effectively with plain water.
4. One of the newest technologies for cleaning cat urine is penetrate the soiled area and deactivate the odor with peroxide or detergents. Simply spray a product that consist a 3% hydrogen peroxide and wait about five minutes. After that use a clean white absorbent cloth, blot the area, pressing down firmly (do not rub) for 30 seconds. Repeat this blotting process until the area is dry. If the stain or odor persists, repeat the process.Once the soiled area is really clean, you should use a high-quality pet odor neutralizer. Test the affected surface for staining first, and read and follow the instructions.
If the area still looks stained after it's completely dry from extracting and neutralizing, apply a specialized stain and odor removing bacteria/enzyme cleaner, such as "Outright Pet Stain Eliminator," "Pet 'Oops' Remover," or "Stain Gobbler". Check out the online merchants and catalogers selling pet supplies.

Tips on how to clean cat urine from your upholstery:
Continue Reading About How to Clean Cat Urine


How Do I Stop My Cat From Biting Me?

Sometimes, you end up with a cat that is a bit too aggressive for its own good. If you've felt the nipping of tiny teeth on your fingertips, you know that biting cats aren't fun to have. Good thing is that it's an easy behavior to stop.

Kittens instinctively nip and bite each other as they grow up. If you have a kitten and it's biting you, it's even easier to stop than in a fully grown cat.

As kittens, cats learn which behaviors are acceptable and which aren't by, simply, getting their fuzzy butts kicked by their litter mates. If they bite one of their siblings too hard and end up getting bitten back, they learn, "Hey, maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all!"
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Add a Shelter Cat to Your Family Today

Stray Cat Adoptions of Texas (SCAT)

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Become part of the San Antonio Pet Scene

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Fluorescent cats


Red fluorescent cats:
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Cassidy and Snowflake Same mom different litters - Rescued from a feral colony in San Antonio

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Cassidy was born with a club foot and two different color eyes

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Cassidy runs and plays just like her normal sisters

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Are You Getting Ready To Travel With Your Cat?

Traveling with your cat is sometimes your choice and sometimes a necessity. Lots of decisions and thinking can make it a safe and non freak out event. Cats like a stable and same old routine type of life. When you have to go away, then you have to decide what is best suited to your cats well being. What is easy for you, is not necessarily what is best for your cat.

Have a secure cat carrier, soft or hard. Soft is nice because it offers some give and is easy to hold in your arms, when your cat is frightened. It works very nicely in car travel. Hard is good for commercial travel, because it protects your cat from bumps and rough handling.

With either cat carrier take an old T-shirt that you have worn, that has your bodys scent on it and put it in the carrier. A favorite small blanket or something that will fit in the carrier, is also a good idea. It will help to calm the cat.

Remember that while you know what is going on, your cat is surrounded by new noises, scents, and people it does not know. It will also sense your nervousness of getting there on time and checking in.

Take your cat in for a check up with the vet. Make sure all shots are up to date and that you carry the paper work to prove it, in case there is a problem while traveling.
Continue Reading About Are You Getting Ready To Travel With Your Cat?


Ensure A Good Relationship Between Your Cat And Your Kids

Many parents know that the best way for children to learn compassion and the importance of keeping commitments is by helping to care for a pet. Children learn from watching the adults in their lives. If a child can learn to treat an animal with respect they can take that lesson into later life. A cat can be a marvellous, loving companion for a child, but it is up to the adults in the family to ensure the cat and the kids live together happily ever after.

When you first bring a cat home, explain to your child that they will need to be patient, quiet and gentle to help the cat feel safe. Sit on the floor with your child and help him practice patience as the cat gets up the courage to come close. Let your child feed the cat a piece of food from his hand. If the cat is reluctant to come close, have your child gently toss a piece of food close to the cat. Once the cat realizes what your child is offering, the ice will melt.

Very young children can easily overwhelm a cat or kitten with their exuberance. Children under the age of five years should always be supervised when playing with or handling a cat. Children over 12 years can usually be trusted to be gentle, but be sure to occasionally check up on kids under 12 years when they spend concentrated time with the family cat.

You should remind children that they should not disturb a sleeping cat, or a cat that is using its litter tray.

Kittens appear to be amazingly flexible, and children often think nothing of draping a weeks-old cat over the crook of the arm and carrying it around like a toy, or picking up a kitten by the scruffof its neck. In this position, it is easy for the kitten to be dropped and seriously injured. Also, being carried like this leaves the cat feeling unsupported with it's hind legs swinging in space.
Continue Reading About Ensure A Good Relationship Between Your Cat And Your Kids


Cats & Holidays

What are the options of care for my cat when I go on holidays?

There are several options for your cat when you go on holiday. Each option has it's pros & cons & needs to be weighed up carefully. There are many factors involved, including the length of time you are going away, cost, your cat's personality & your own comfort level. Listed below are several options cat owners can investigate.

Boarding Cattery:
Pros: You will have a professional to watch your cat while you are away. There are some wonderful boarding catteries available. Some of which start out fairly basic, others are the equivalent of a feline 5 star hotel. Many boarding catteries have an enclosed outdoor play area so your cat can enjoy the sunshine in the safety of an enclosure. As boarding catteries usually have other pets in their care, time in an outdoor play area is usually limited so each of their guests can enjoy time outside.

You will have somebody keeping a watch over your cat's health & well being. As well as providing the basic requirements such as feeding many boarding catteries will spend time playing, grooming & petting your cat.

Cons: Some cats don't take well to being taken outside of the comfort of their home, and will become stressed. The majority of cats will settle in quickly, but some will find it an upsetting experience.
Continue Reading About Cats & Holidays


Euthanasia in Cats

Also known as 'putting to sleep' euthanasia is used to end an animal's life quickly & painlessly. Most often this is due to the animal having a a critical or terminal illness with no chance of recovery.

Euthanasia is something almost all pet owners are going to have to face at one point or another. Bringing a pet into our life is an exciting & rewarding time, but sadly their lifespan is shorter than ours & therefore it is highly likely that we will eventually have to make the decision to euthanise them in order to end their suffering.

Why euthanise my cat?

There are many reasons why euthanasia is performed. This article will cover medical reasons only.
Continue Reading About Euthanasia in Cats


Do cats know and express love?

Most of us are incurable romantics. We think that feelings and expressions of love exist only within our species. But what about cats and other animals? Does anything akin to love exist in their world? The answer may surprise you, as it turns the love mirror back on us, revealing mysteries about our own struggles with l'amour.

Love Redefined
Until recently, poets, musicians and other creative individuals mostly defined love for us, coming up with traditions like Cupid and his arrow or St. Valentine's Day celebrations. But a slew of recent scientific studies put the focus on love's source of origin -- the brain.

Love turns out to be a valuable brain-initiated mechanism for species survival. It permits alliances between individuals, such as males and females, or parents and children, in order to facilitate breeding and infant care. Neuroscientists, such as Andreas Bartels of University College London, have determined that the brain-produced hormones oxytocin and vasopressin are real-life Love Potion No. 9s, leading to bonds between certain individuals.

Lions and Romantic Love
The feeling of "falling in love" is very specific, brain-imaging studies show. In humans, this can last for up to a few years, leading some people to constantly fall in and out of love or become addicted to that intense sense of attraction to another.

Domestic housecats have no need for extended male-female love in regards to reproduction. Lust, which appears in a different part of the brain, draws Toms and females together, but they then go their separate ways fairly quickly after mating, with mothers handling all parental duties. Lions are the one exception among cats, according to Jonathan Balcombe, author of the best-selling book "Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good" (MacMillan 2006). "Male lions will care for their cubs," he explains.

Motherly Love
Romance isn't the end all to love. "Emotions comparable to caring and romantic love are, without a doubt, expressed between a mother and her kittens," explains Dr. Balcombe, who is also an animal behavior research scientist for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. A vivid example is the story of Scarlett, a calico cat who pulled her five kittens, one by one, from a burning building in New York in 1996. Her actions, which left Scarlett with lifelong debilitating injuries, were documented by Animal Planet, but Dr. Balcombe says such stories are not uncommon.
Continue Reading About Do cats know and express love?


How To Find a Lost Cat

Cats can occasionally wander off, and this can be a very scary time for pet owners. Most cats are found quickly, but it can take some effort for this to happen. If you are trying to find a lost cat, here are the steps you should take:

1. Confirm that the cat is actually lost. Cats are known for being excellent at hiding, and may simply be taking a nap somewhere. Search your home thoroughly, and your yard if your cat is allowed outdoors. Confirming that you cannot find the cat is the first step of the search. Listen carefully for your cat’s meows; it is possible that your cat has wandered into somewhere where they have gotten stuck.

2. Try to entice the cat back home. Even if your indoor-only cat has escaped the home, they are often able to be lured back with food. Set a bowl of food outside and see if the cat comes wandering back. Tuna fish or soft cat food often works best for this, because their smell is easier to detect for a cat than that of dry cat food. However, watch out for other animals who may also be attracted by the scent.

3. Look around the neighborhood. Check all of the streets of your neighborhood. If your neighbors are outside, ask them if they have seen your cats. They may have seen your cat wandering around the neighborhood before you realized that he was lost. Call your cat’s name while searching the neighborhood, and your cat may come running. Make any other noise that your pet is familiar with, like the sound of a treat box being shaken or his favorite squeaky toy.

4. Put up signs. Place signs up around your neighborhood on mailboxes and posts. Your poster should say “LOST CAT” and include the cat’s color and a description as well as your contact info. Include a photo of your cat, if you have one. A color photo is best. These should be distributed up to a one mile radius from where your pet went missing.
Continue Reading About How To Find a Lost Cat


Adopting a Cat from an Animal Shelter

When choosing a cat to adopt from an animal shelter, there are several things that must be considered. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that adopting a cat means the furry friend will most likely be around for a long while. In fact, a cat can easily live up to 20 years. Therefore, owning a cat isn't just a small commitment in time. Once the decision is made to adopt a cat, there are four main things to look for to ensure the pet will be healthy and a good match for the family and its lifestyle.

Activity
When visiting a cat shelter to choose a new feline friend, the first thing to do is to simply observe all of the cats and kittens. While observing them, just to get an idea of how active they are and what type of attitude they have. If the cat is hunched in a corner or appears lethargic, it might not be too healthy. The last thing a new pet owner needs is to adopt a sick cat that will rack up the vet's bills. Similarly, a pet owner looking to add a new cat along with the pets he or she already has doesn't want to bring home a sick cat that will spread illness to the other cats.

Observing the cat while it is in its cage is helpful in determining the attitude of the cat. Some pet owners are looking for playful cats that will scamper about the house and chase and play with toys. On the other hand, some pet owners would like a cat that is a little more docile and that will spend hours cuddled up in the owner's lap. Watching the cats in their cages will help determine which type of personality they have. Of course, a cat that is sleeping doesn't provide much information about its personality, because all cats sleep the majority of their day away. For sleeping cats, it will be necessary to rouse them to get an idea of their unique personalities.

Look At The Cat
After the selection of potential adoptees has been narrowed down, the remaining cats should be looked at more closely. To do this, the attendant should be asked to release the cats fro the cage, one at a time.
Continue Reading About Adopting a Cat from an Animal Shelter




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Even Healthy Cats Act Sick When Their Routine Is Disrupted

A cat regularly vomiting hairballs or refusing to eat probably isn't being finicky or otherwise "cat-like," despite what conventional wisdom might say. There is a good chance that the cat is acting sick because of the stress caused by changes in its environment, new research suggests.

Healthy cats were just as likely as chronically ill cats to refuse food, vomit frequently and leave waste outside their litter box in response to changes in their routine, according to the Ohio State University study. Veterinary clinicians refer to these acts as sickness behaviors. The researchers documented sickness behaviors in healthy cats and in cats with feline interstitial cystitis, a chronic illness characterized by recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and often both an urgent and frequent need to urinate.

When the cats experienced what were called "unusual external events," such as a change in feeding schedule or caretaker, the healthy cats were just as likely to exhibit sickness behaviors as were the chronically ill cats. The two groups had the same number of sickness behaviors in response to unusual events, and both groups were at more than three times the risk of acting sick when their routines were disrupted.

Previous research has indicated that a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis, known as IC, in cats is strongly associated with a number of other health problems. The fact that healthy cats exhibit some of those same problems in the face of stress suggests that veterinary clinicians should consider cats' environmental conditions during assessments for health problems, researchers say.

"For veterinary clinicians, when you have a cat that's not eating, is not using the litter box or has stuff coming up out of its mouth, the quality of the environment is another cause that needs to be addressed in coming up with a diagnosis," said Tony Buffington, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State and senior author of the study.
Continue Reading About Even Healthy Cats Act Sick When Their Routine Is Disrupted


Flea Yard Control

Yard flea control is an essential part of controlling flea infestation outside the home. No matter how diligent you are about controlling fleas inside the home, if your cat goes outside, he could pick up fleas in an uncontrolled yard and bring them inside, making indoor flea control difficult if not impossible.

Controlling Fleas by Understanding Their Life Cycle Simply killing adult fleas isn't enough to control flea infestation; flea larvae hatch from eggs and then mature into adults. In order to control flea infestation, you'll need to kill flea eggs and larvae as well as adult fleas. You should be aware that flea control is often an ongoing process; fleas can reappear if you aren't diligent in your control methods.

Preparing Your Lawn for Flea Control Treatment Many cat owners choose to treat their lawns chemically in order to control fleas. Before you consider using a chemical treatment, prepare your lawn to minimize flea hiding places and ensure that chemical treatment has the maximum effect.

The first step in lawn preparation is mowing your lawn. Mowing your lawn regularly can have enormous flea control benefits, as it allows sunlight to penetrate the soil, where flea eggs and larvae live. When sunlight penetrates the flea egg or larval cocoon, it can be harmful or even deadly for them.

Remove any weeds from your lawn, especially those growing around fence lines and in sidewalk cracks. Remove weeds from around play equipment and furnishings.

Take steps to keep unwanted animals out of your lawn. Fill gaps in your fencing and cover trash cans that might tempt wild animals and strays. Stray cats, dogs and even wild animals can bring more fleas into your yard. Because keeping unwanted animals entirely out of your lawn at all times is most likely impossible, you'll need to repeat flea control treatments regularly to prevent re-infestation.
Continue Reading About Flea Yard Control


Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to

It’s a given that a cat ages more rapidly than what humans do. Some veterinarians will tell you that a one-year old cat is equivalent to a 16-year old child, although I think this is extreme. The different schools of thoughts propounded by vets and feline experts will tell you that the ratio is anywhere from 4 to 7:1 when it comes to comparing the aging process of a feline to that of a human. Despite the difficulty in predicting an exact age, most vets and experts consider a feline to be “geriatric” once it is 10 years old.

Cats are now living longer than ever before with the average age of a house cat that has been well cared for being around 15 years of age. Additionally, cats that have been neutered or spayed tend to live longer than those that have not been. The speculation here is that cats that have not been “fixed” tend to roam around a lot more and are there prone to even fatal injuries. It also holds true that they succumb to diseases and health maladies because of exposure to the outside environment.

Felines are amazing pieces of machinery, so to speak, in that they have the capability of repairing themselves. For instance, despite the fact that they have two kidneys, they only need a part of one of them in order to stay healthy. Eventually, the aging process in cats takes its toll on them, just like it does with us, and therefore they experience those bodily changes that are characteristically associated with getting older.

The bottom line here is that the key elements of exercise, health care, and proper nutrition, combined with the special care they need once they have entered their “golden years,” will affect your cat’s life expectancy positively. The following list, though quite lengthy, are the more common conditions and problems that older cats may eventually face and that you as an owner will have to deal with when they arise:

* Anemia
* Arthritis and stiff joints
* Blood pressure problems
* Bone brittleness and weakness
* Breathing issues resulting from less flexibility of the lung muscles
* Cancer
* Decreased brain cell count
* Decreased control of body temperature
* Decreased functions of the kidneys and liver
* Decreased intestinal and stomach functions which oftentimes lead to impaired digestive processes
* Decreased production of saliva and difficulties in swallowing
* Decreased sensitivity to all the senses excluding touch
* Dehydration resulting from a decreased sensitivity to thirst
* Greater occurrence of infection due to increased susceptibility
* Increased bone brittleness
* Mouth ulcers
* Muscle dysfunction and weakness
* Periodontal conditions and tooth loss
* Shallower sleeping patterns which leads to irritability and temperament issues
* Skin abnormalities such as abnormally brittle or misshaped claws, alopecia, and dullness of the coat

From the time they are kittens, cats need to be provided with four critical elements in order to enter their golden years in the best possible shape – an appropriate amount of regular exercise, good health care, proper nutrition, and a stimulating lifestyle. About the Author
Problems That Aging Cats are Susceptible to
For more easy, practical tips on taking great care of your cat be sure to visit the author’s feline health site now.

New Kitten Care - How to Kitten-proof Your Home

A very important aspect of new kitten care is keeping your kitten safe from danger. There are a lot of potential hazards round the home for little kittens. This article lists the most common ones and suggests ways you can minimize risks to your kitten and keep her safe.

Washing machine and tumble dryer:
If you leave the door open and there are clothes inside, there's a good chance your kitten will climb in and go to sleep. Always check your kitten isn't inside these before you use them.

Fridge and freezer:
As soon as you've used these, shut the door.

Hob and oven:
Shut the oven door as soon as you've finished with it. Cover hot hob plates.

Raw meat:
Keep it out of reach - it can give your kitten food poisoning.

Garbage:
Put all garbage in a sealed bin that your kitten can't access.

Plants:
Many plants are poisonous to cats. If you're not sure whether a certain plant is safe for your kitten if she eats it, put it out of her reach.

Pot pourri:
The oils used to scent this can be poisonous.

Open fires and candles:
Use a guard on the fire. Never leave a kitten in a room alone with lit candles.

Electrical wires:
If your kitten is a wire chewer, you'll need to put wires out of her reach or buy plastic covers for them.

Curtain tie-backs and cords on window blinds:
Kittens can get caught in these. Either remove them completely or tie them up out of reach.

Filled bathtubs and sinks:
Make sure your kitten doesn't have access to the room when the tub or sink is full.

Open toilet:
Try to get into the habit of keeping the lid down when the toilet's not in use.

Medications:
Keep them in a cupboard that your kitten can't get into.

Small objects:
Kittens can swallow small things like paper clips, rubber bands, staples and needles.

String, wool, fishing line and thread:
Kittens can swallow large quantities of these. For this reason, balls of wool or string and pom-poms aren't good toys for cats.

Household chemicals:
Most cleaners etc. are highly poisonous to cats and need to be kept somewhere your kitten can't access.

Tobacco:
Tobacco, nicotine patches and nicotine gum are all poisonous to cats.

Reclining chairs, futons, folding beds, drawers:
If kittens get caught when this type of furniture is moved, they can get crushed. Make sure your kitten isn't asleep somewhere she could get trapped before you use any of these.

Safety is a major factor for new kitten care. It's fairly easy to keep your kitten safe as long as you anticipate potential dangers and take the necessary steps to prevent them. Putting brightly colored post it notes up around your home is a good way to do this. Stick the notes on or near potential dangers - for example the fridge, washing machine, oven, toilet and futon - and anywhere else that could be a hazard.

About the Author
New Kitten Care - How to Kitten-proof Your Home
Liz Allan has 25 years experience of caring for cats. To find out more about new kitten care, visit: http://www.cat-behavior-explained.com/all-about-kittens.html

Owning a Cat - How it Benefits Your Child

If your child misses a lot of school due to illness, maybe you should get a cat. Research has shown that children who own pets attend school up to 9 more days a year than their non pet-owning counterparts. The immune function of pet owners is more stable, making them better able to fend off illness. Pet owners visit doctors less.

But what about allergies? Isn't cat hair is a common source of irritation to immune systems? A leading theory under investigation by asthma researchers suggests that the presence of pets in the home from an early age may adapt the immune system so it is less sensitive to allergens later in life. So it may in fact be the lack of pets in a child's life that contributes to asthma sensitivities.

Studies have also connected pet ownership with lower blood pressure and reduced anxiety levels. In fact, a recent long-term study has shown that people who have never owned a cat, face a 40% greater risk of death due to heart attack than current and even previous cat owners. Dog owners did not have the same level of protection against heart disease as cat owners.

State University of New York researchers found that the cat doesn't even have to be present to achieve this. A group of stockbrokers with hypertension who owned pets showed lower blood pressure even when not with their cats.

It is well known that cat owners have lower stress levels overall, so perhaps the health advantages are a result of being more relaxed.

Cat ownership may be a surprising remedy for absenteeism, however, good health and more days at school are just two of the many benefits to children of having a cat in their lives. Studies have associated numerous psychological benefits with pet ownership.

Children who live with cats show more empathy for others and help others more. This translates to being able to understand others and get along better. Children who live with animals develop a better understanding of body language and other non-verbal cues. A study of 455 school children between the ages of 11 and 16 revealed that children with pets had a better ability to understand non-verbal communications. As a result, these children are more popular with classmates than those who don't have pets at home.

Additionally, children who own pets are more likely to be involved in sports, hobbies, clubs and other social activities. Some studies even show that children who own cats have a higher IQ.

Children with pets learn develop an early sense of responsibility. The responsibility of owning a pet can give children the experience of being needed and this may translate into other areas of life. Cats are relatively easy to care for, as they clean themselves and don't need to be walked.

Social skills and responsibility make a great foundation for life. A US study of 394 university students revealed that those who had owned dogs or cats as childhood pets were more self-confident than those who did not. This may be related to other findings that children raised with pets have higher self-esteem, thought to result from the unconditional love a pet provides. No matter what's going on at school, or with friends, pets treat children the same way.

It seems obvious to say then, that pets hold an important place in many children's lives, often on a par with parents, grandparents and siblings. Children often talk to their pets and regard them as an important friends and confidantes. A five-year study of 600 children aged 3-18 years showed that pet-owning children who have challenges such as being slow learners or having divorced parents cope better with life than those who don't have a pet. Again, having a pet that shows unconditional love regardless of what is happening, can cushion other difficulties in life.

It's not surprising that pets have been used successfully in therapy for some time now. They help sick kids relax and take their minds off their illnesses. Some doctors, recognizing the importance of pets in children's lives ensure that pet names are included in their patients' medical records along with other family members. Even in the most depressing clinical environment, talking about a pet can lighten a situation.

If you already have cat members of your family, know that they are doing your children the world of good. If you don't, it's worth serious consideration.

About the Author
Owning a Cat - How it Benefits Your Child
Jenny is a cat lover and webmaster of Pictures of Cats You are welcome to reproduce this article on your pet or family related web site, as long as you reproduce the article in full, including this resource box and link to her website featuring photo and video galleries of beautiful cats.



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Homemade Kitten Food

Do you need a cheap, healthy alternative to store bought kitten food to help wean your kittens off their mother's milk and transition them to traditional canned kitten food? More than likely, they have shown little interest in regular canned food, preferring the milk to anything you might put in their bowl. Dry food will also be too hard on their developing teeth. The best option would be to start them on a food that reminds them of what they prefer, but can be mixed with traditional wet food to help transition them over. This recipe is simple to make, and kittens find it delicious.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and mix in one envelope of unflavored gelatin. Be sure to mix thoroughly, and do not boil the gelatin. If the water tastes bad or has a heavy chlorine taste when it comes out of the tap, consider using filtered water instead.

Pour this mixture into a blender along with half of a 12 ounce can of goat's milk. Blend just long enough to combine thoroughly. Do not substitute cow's milk because cats tend to be lactose intolerant. Using cow's milk can lead to discomfort, diarrhea, and worse if fed to kittens.

Add the following ingredients one at a time. After each addition, blend briefly to combine before moving on to the next. You will want to use the lowest setting to avoid overmixing. Add: 3 tbsp full fat yogurt, 3 tbsp real mayonnaise, 3 tsp light corn syrup, and 1 raw egg yolk. Concerning the egg yolk, raw eggs carry a small risk of salmonella poisoning. To eliminate any risk of accidentally passing this on to your kittens, use eggs that have been pasteurized in their shells.

You can serve the completed homemade kitten food the way it is, or you can store it for use later. To store for later usage, cover the mixture tightly in a small container. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to ten days or in your freezer for up to three months.

If you are going to use food that you have prepared in advance, you will want to warm it up before serving, especially if it is coming from the refrigerator or freezer. Cold food causes severe stomach upset in kittens. Warming it up will also make it more aromatic, and thus more appetizing to the kittens.

Cat allergies

How to Litter Train A Kitten

If the mother cat is still in the home and she is already litter trained, then litter training her kittens is a natural process. Her kittens will simply follow what she does. However, ultimately, each cat should have its own litter tray or else it may create a host of other litter tray problems for you!

For most kitten owners, the mother cat is not in the home if the kitten was orphaned or purchased. But this is not a problem. It is easy to litter train a cat when it's still a little kitten. Cats are creatures of habit and it may not be as easy to litter train once they have become used to their favorite toilet spots.

The key to litter training a kitten is to let it get used to the litter tray as soon as possible. You will need to manually place your kitten onto the tray initially, as it is neither used to it nor is it able to climb over the edge to get in.

Most kittens would defecate soon after waking up and after a meal. You could place your kitten in the litter tray during these times and after a few weeks, your kitten would get used to the routine and it would become a habit.

Just be sure to place the litter tray a reasonable distance away from where the kitten is fed and where it sleeps. Cats and kittens are fastidious creatures and do not like to do their toilet near where they eat and sleep.

When a kitten is still very young, it will not be able to "cover up" very well after its toilet, as most adult cats are capable of. But you don't have to worry about this. Once they are about 1 to 2 months old, they will instinctively know how to cover up their poop.

In the wild or in the garden, cats will scoop soil and earth to cover but in the home, if you provide commercial cat litter, they will naturally scoop the litter to cover up the poop. You will notice, even if you only provide a newspaper for their soiling, your kitten will still scoop at the newspaper in an instinctive act to cover up their poop.

Although you can expect to pick up poop after your kitten in the first few weeks, litter training a kitten is relatively easy and can be 100% trouble-free once it gets used to the routine of using the litter tray.

Cat litter box location strategies

New Kitten Care - How to Kitten-proof Your Home

A very important aspect of new kitten care is keeping your kitten safe from danger. There are a lot of potential hazards round the home for little kittens. This article lists the most common ones and suggests ways you can minimize risks to your kitten and keep her safe.

Washing machine and tumble dryer:
If you leave the door open and there are clothes inside, there's a good chance your kitten will climb in and go to sleep. Always check your kitten isn't inside these before you use them.

Fridge and freezer:
As soon as you've used these, shut the door.

Hob and oven:
Shut the oven door as soon as you've finished with it. Cover hot hob plates.

Raw meat:
Keep it out of reach - it can give your kitten food poisoning.

Garbage:
Put all garbage in a sealed bin that your kitten can't access.

Plants:
Many plants are poisonous to cats. If you're not sure whether a certain plant is safe for your kitten if she eats it, put it out of her reach.

Pot pourri:
The oils used to scent this can be poisonous.

Open fires and candles:
Use a guard on the fire. Never leave a kitten in a room alone with lit candles.

Electrical wires:
If your kitten is a wire chewer, you'll need to put wires out of her reach or buy plastic covers for them.

Curtain tie-backs and cords on window blinds:
Kittens can get caught in these. Either remove them completely or tie them up out of reach.

Filled bathtubs and sinks:
Make sure your kitten doesn't have access to the room when the tub or sink is full.

Open toilet:
Try to get into the habit of keeping the lid down when the toilet's not in use.

Medications:
Keep them in a cupboard that your kitten can't get into.

Small objects:
Kittens can swallow small things like paper clips, rubber bands, staples and needles.

String, wool, fishing line and thread:
Kittens can swallow large quantities of these. For this reason, balls of wool or string and pom-poms aren't good toys for cats.

Household chemicals:
Most cleaners etc. are highly poisonous to cats and need to be kept somewhere your kitten can't access.

Tobacco:
Tobacco, nicotine patches and nicotine gum are all poisonous to cats.

Reclining chairs, futons, folding beds, drawers:
If kittens get caught when this type of furniture is moved, they can get crushed. Make sure your kitten isn't asleep somewhere she could get trapped before you use any of these.

Safety is a major factor for new kitten care. It's fairly easy to keep your kitten safe as long as you anticipate potential dangers and take the necessary steps to prevent them. Putting brightly colored post it notes up around your home is a good way to do this. Stick the notes on or near potential dangers - for example the fridge, washing machine, oven, toilet and futon - and anywhere else that could be a hazard.

Cat allergies

Kitten Feeding with a Bottle

Kitten feeding can feel like a difficult process without a mother cat to do it for you. Newborn kittens are so tiny and fragile, and have to operate almost entirely by instinct. It may seem a daunting task at first, but the process of kitten feeding with a bottle is not so much from that of feeding a newborn human. Once they know what to do, they will do it all on their own. All you have to do is show them proper care and follow a few simple guidelines.

Step 1 Make up the bottle of formula. To do this, first sterilize the bottle and nipple in boiling water for several minutes and allow to cool thoroughly before adding the KMR (kitten milk replacement) formula. KMR is specifically formulated for kittens, and cow's milk is not an adequate replacement. To avoid clumping, add just a little bit of water to the powdered mix and stir until thoroughly combined before adding the rest of the hot water. The final temperature of the formula should be about 95 degrees. If the bottle gets cold, just warm it up in a small bowl of very warm water, but always check the temperature before offering it to the kitten.

Step 2 Prepare the kitten. Place a warm, soft towel either on your lap or on the feeding surface, then place the kitten gently on top of it. When feeding newborn kittens, they will need to be lying flat on their stomachs. It is best if you can do this with the kitten gently cuddled against you, because you need to be sure that the kitten is warm before feeding. Cold kittens do not digest their formula well.

Step 3 Feed the kitten. Gently work the nipple against the kitten's mouth. They will get the idea quickly and take it in. If not, very gently stroke the kitten until it gets the idea. You will need to do this six to ten times per day, around the clock, just like a newborn human. Newborn kittens will need a little over one ounce of formula per day, divided between feedings. Be careful to not overfeed them.

Step 4 Clean up and burp the kitten. While the kitten is still on the blanket, gently slip one hand under its belly and hold it while you very lightly pat its upper back. This will stimulate the burp response. Then, using a warm, damp, slightly rough cloth, gently clean its anal and genital area to stimulate urination and defecation.

Step 5 Put the kitten back to bed. It is worn out from its feeding and needs to rest.

Cat allergies

Getting Ready for the Newborn Kittens

Caring for your cat during pregnancy may require a lot of time and effort in your part but it is a very wonderful and rewarding experience. But after the kittens are already born, you will need to do a different task and that is to take care of the newborn kittens. These kittens will need special kind of attention and care and you must make sure that you could provide it to them.

One good way to start is to prepare your home for the arrival of the newborn kittens. Kittens tend to play with, chew, or nibble anything that attracts their interest like plants, cords, and other materials. You should remove the things that could be harmful to the newborn kittens like anything that could poison them or hurt them. Electrical cords must be kept out of reach. Look for anything sharp and pointed and remove them from the area immediately. Deal with anything that could strangle your kitten like ropes, ribbons, and cords to provide a safer place for your kittens.

You might also want to save your curtains and drapes from kitten scratches so it would be advisable to tie them up so your kittens will not be able to reach them. Make sure that the cabinet for your cleaning liquids are out of your kittens’ reach. Most of these cleaning liquids are poisonous and you wouldn't want your kitty to play with them to prevent any kind of accident.

Another good preparation that you should not forget is to shop for things that your kitten will need. You will have to shop for foods that are suitable for newborn kittens. You should opt for foods that could give your kittens the kind of nutrition they need for growth. The food should also be easily digestible by kittens to prevent any troubles with their tummy.

You should also get them the things they need like their own bowls, kitty basket or bed, blanket, litter box, and toys. This is to ensure that your kittens will be comfortable and that they will have a good playing time. You should provide them with warm and comfortable place or area to sleep in. When choosing toys for your little kittens, make sure that they are safe and will not put the safety of your kittens at risk.

Lastly, you must make sure that your kittens are healthy. After birth, you could have a vet take a look at them to check them up for any illness and to give them vaccines that they need. If your vet saw some signs and symptoms that suggest illness, your kitten might be subjected to some tests and examinations. This is to ensure that they will grow healthy and will reduce the risk of getting sick. These things will help prepare you and your home for the arrival of your cat’s newborn kittens. You will not have to get worried about their safety inside your home and you can be sure that you will able to provide them with anything they need for them to grow happy and healthy.

Cat allergies

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